By Mercy Hills
Coming from a background that respected and magnified education, my Parents and everyone around inculcated in us this idea that one cannot be progressive in the society we found ourselves, if we turned out illiterates. My mother who upheld that notion the most, ensured we all went to school because she wanted us to be distinct amongst others due to the discrimination on female children, noting that her children were mostly female folks aside my only brother.
With that idea in mind, we all went to school. I had succeeded finishing pre nursery, nursery schools, conquered primary school, and defeated the travails of secondary school. And then, I nurtured this great idea to become a Barrister, just like my big cousin. But my university system restructured everything when I got my admission letter and it read another course.
Notwithstanding, I continued the struggle to gain education, because that was what mattered most be a graduate, get a big job because I of course have a degree, be an elite in the society, be seen responsibly by the society and make my mother proud.
Four years in the university was not too rosy for those of us who have crossed that path, lectures, assignments, field works, constant presentation, tests, examinations and the almighty days when results were released. I however managed to pass through that stage; it was then service year (NYSC)! I was full of hopes and enthusiasm hoping like many of us will be having in their minds right now, that after service to my country, I will be entitled to a job possibly in the government house, an oil company in Portharcourt, etc. possibly with an official apartment and a car. Oh noooo….I had forgotten or possibly not reasoned that there existed more than a million graduates, who possibly had attended a better university and earned better grades that still roam the streets without a job and they wished they had a day’s meal not even a car or a house that I hoped for.
As days went by, I slowly became broke, mum and Dad were no longer sending allowances, and Federal and State allowee became a thing of the past. My friends, who got no jobs like me, opted into trade with the skills they acquired, I became stranded.
At this point, I started recalling those days my friends told me to engage in entrepreneurial skills and those times my child hood friends engaged in so many skills during our incessant intervals of university strike, I rather read my books or got involved in one study or the other.
It is not wrong to study neither is it a crime to get a degree but attach the degree with a skill. So that you can develop not only yourself but your society. Nafisat my roommate is presently an architect but still runs her design suite in Abuja, Ojoma is a Caterer and Baker doing real good in Kaduna, I would have been a hairstylist, flourishing here in Awka but I procrastinated for so long.
Now, at the stage of job hunting, with several failed attempts, I sluggishly went back to one of the hobbies I picked while I was serving my country which included sleeping, watching movies , chatting with friends and writing! Thank God I wrote, with and so that, I started news reporting and worked as a voluntary worker without payment for a long time, just to improve on my skills. At least to ease my boredom though, it was hell difficult but I still pushed forward because to me, there was no other option. Besides, that was a hobby; I loved to write, it became the only encouragement I had. Suddenly, it started paying, it was from that point I got my first job, still hoping for the best.
My realization was and is still this: it was very unnecessary and dangerous to depend on a means to achieve success; though writing was achieved because of educational background, but I still wished I picked up other skills\training to fall back to when the going got tough.